Author: Sean Keener

What is Your Why?

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What is the reason you want to take a round the world trip? Is it something that you’ve really sat down and thought about? Have you come up with your “Why?”
For most of us travel lovers, the initial answer is something along the lines of, “I want to see all the places I’ve dreamed about.”
But if you really think about it – digging deep – I would guess that you have a bigger purpose than just ticking cities, countries, sites, and experiences off your list.
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Your “Why” can change

When my wife and I decided to go on our RTW trip, we were in our late 20’s, just getting established in our careers, contemplating buying a house and starting a family.  Right in the thick of the American Dream.  When the trip idea first came up, our initial why was simply that we loved to travel, and the thought of leaving our jobs, traveling for an entire year, seeing all these amazing places, and doing what we wanted when we wanted was the biggest appeal.
But was that enough to take such a big risk, giving up good paying jobs at the beginning of our careers and do something that most thought so unconventional?  Our love of travel was enough to make us really contemplate taking off to see the world, but it wasn’t enough to make us take that leap.  To really get us over the hump, we reflected and dug deep.  We thought about what it was that we wanted out of life.
Like many others who choose to take the leap of faith and travel around the world, it ultimately came down to one thing – regret.  In 5, 10, 20, 30 years, what would we regret more?  Playing it safe and joining the million of others in the rat race?  Or taking a risk and doing what it was we really wanted to do?  When we thought about it in those terms, the decision became easy.
And now, a decade after making that decision in 2007, I can honestly say it was the best decision of our young lives.  And thinking about our Why? made us feel more at ease with that decision and confident that we were doing what was right for our us.  Though many thought we were crazy, we knew that this is what we were supposed to do.

Examples of “Why”

BootsnAll has been around since 1998, and in that time, we have made connections with thousands of travelers.  Here are some “Why’s” we’ve heard over the years:

  • I don’t want to wait for retirement.  I want to see the world when I am young.
  • Regret!  On my death bed, I don’t want to think about the things I was too scared to do.  I want to remember the great things I experienced in my life.
  • I’m not sure what I want to do and I feel uninspired in my current life. Long-term travel may help open and challenge my assumptions of what is possible.
  • I want to learn about a specific part of the world, and by going there, meeting and talking to the people, and learning about it is the best way.
  • Because I can!
  • I have always dreamed of seeing [Machu Picchu, the Pyramids, Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, etc.]
  • My passion is surfing, and I want to surf the best places around the world.
  • I have a physical accomplishment on my list – hiking Everest, the Boston Marathon, etc.), and what better time to do it than on an epic RTW trip?
  • I want to volunteer and really make a difference, not just do it for a few days or a week.
  • Because I want to share the world with my children.  I want them to understand how others live.  And the best way to educate them about other people and other parts of the world is not by having them sit in a classroom, it’s getting out into the world and showing them.

Real life folks and their Why?

  • Surfing Around the World – As the website url suggests, they are surfing (the wave kind) around the world. Most of the decisions they make about where and when to go are influenced by the surf.
  • From Tourist to Townie – Gareth has planned his travels around digging deeper into Latin American culture, “to truly understand foreign communities through the people and culture that define them.”

Some more more resources on the Why
Simon Sinek on the Golden Circle – Why, How and What. It’s starts with why? – He talks about it from a company perspective…think about you, as the company – and what the Why is for your RTW. It is powerful when you figure it out.

There is no right or wrong answer to this – it’s your answer and yours alone. But if you can identify your why, it really can motivate you to take that leap faith. And it’s going to be much easier to actually plan this whole thing going forward. You will have a purpose, and that purpose will shape where you go and what you see.
Photo credits: Frederick Lin Photography

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